Our Family

Our Family

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 1

Back to school this week!

Nick is taking a first block class at school and I am so thankful he can drive himself!  Much easier then last year when I had to drag everyone out of bed first thing in the morning and hang around town for an hour and a half every day!!!

I learned a few years ago it was better for us to ease back into a full day then it was to jump in with both feet to do everything.  So for the next couple of weeks we will be working on a few subjects and work our way up to a full schedule.  I do wish that this year I would've started the first day with something fun as I think we would have had a better day that way but we did add in some fun activities Tuesday and Wednesday.

For the first time in years I forgot to take first day of school pictures.  Nick had class in the morning, the girls and I ran some errands and we didn't start school until after lunch.  So I forgot.  I am going to try and remember to take some tomorrow and just call them beginning of the school year photos.


Week 1 in our Homeschool

Bible: We are on Vol 4 of Answers for Kids and worked through 6 lessons this week.

History: We did lessons 1 and 2 of America's Story Vol 3 on Theodore Roosevelt 3 Progressive Presidents.

A couple of weeks ago I received a review of a Paddington Bear literature study from Branch Out World.  The girls and I did 3 days of activities.  We did not have a chance to do day 4 and 5 activities so this week we did some of those. 

Art: Paintings of Paddington Bear using shaving cream.





Science: We made our own shaving foam using peroxide, food coloring, water, yeast, and "washing up liquid" and watched it rise.  This was a fun experiment!









Math: Anthony, Christian, Lily, and Emmie completed 3 lessons in Math Lessons for a Living Education.  Alex started lesson 2 of Math U See Pre-Algebra and Nick completed lesson 1 of Math U See Pre-Calculus. 

We read a couple of chapters of The Unseen Guest (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Book 3) during the school day as well as before bed and decided that our next non fiction read aloud will be Milton Hershey from YWAM. 

Reading: Emmie worked on Reading Eggs and did corresponding lessons in her new Reading Eggs workbook (upcoming review.)

Other Activities this Week:

Most of the children's after school activities will not start up again until after Labor Day so most evenings were spent at home this week!  I did have Mom's Night Out Monday night.  Lily read Emmie her bedtime story (apparently she didn't want to hear a made up one from her daddy.)  Lily had piano lessons on Thursday.  Nick and Alex had a Teen leader 4 h back to school event Friday night and attended an outdoor Christian concert with a local youth group Saturday night and I was very thankful again that Nick can drive!

Emmie made a Lemonade Stand this week.  She was outside several days "selling" lemonade for .15 a glass in our backyard.  She sold a few cups and then gave the rest away for free.


Christian has been busy working with his goat.  Only 2 weeks until the fair.  Alex started trimming hooves tonight and hair cuts start tomorrow.






Jessie is trying to escape


This year's chickens have started laying eggs!  We have 2 laying so far only 21 left to go!

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!

Friday, August 17, 2018

6th and 7th Grade Curriculum Choices for the 2018/2019 School Year

This year I will have children in 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 9th and 11th grades.  This series of posts will talk about what curriculum I am using for each of the children, starting with 2nd grade and working my way up.  Some subjects the 2-7th graders will do together such as science, history, Bible, and some subjects such as math are individual.








Individual Subjects: These are done every day. Anthony and Christian do all subjects together except for Math.

Math: We did not finish last year's books and I agonized almost all summer over what to do about math.  Do I keep plugging along with what we were using, or do I need to find something else?  Finally I decided to delay my decision.  For now we will finish up what we did not finish last year, Math Lessons For a Living Education 5 and 6.  When they finish these at the end of the semester I will decide what we will do next.

Language Arts: We will be using Student Writing Intensive A from IEW.

Spelling: We are a little more then half finished with All About Spelling Level 5 and will continue where we left off.

Handwriting: They will use PenTime.



Combined Subjects- All of the 2-7th graders do these subjects together. Bible is done every day.  History 2 days a week, science 2 days a week., music appreciation and art one day a week.



Bible: We will be using up the rest of Bible Study Guide For all Ages that we received earlier in the summer for review.  We will be alternating this with the Answers for Kids books that we started at the end of last year from Master Books.

Poetry: IEW

History: In the fall semester we will be finishing up the America's Story series from Master Books.  We completed books 1 and 2 last year and will use book 3 this fall.  In the spring we will start The Mystery of History Book One.

Science: We will pick up where we left off last year in Apologia Exploring Human Anatomy and Physiology.

Music Appreciation: We will pick up where we left off in Music Appreciation I from Memoria Press.

Art: We will be using a variety of things for art this year.




I would love to also add in Visual Latin but we will see how it goes ;)



It's going to be a great year!

Homeschool Crew Review: God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn by Julie Polanco

Julie Polanco Books

I recently had an opportunity to read and review God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn by Julie Polanco.

God Schooling book

God Schooling is a165 page paperback book($16.99) with 9 chapters.  It is also available as an e-book that is currently on sale at the time of this writing through August 22nd ($9.99.) The first part of the book is called Dispelling Myths and discusses Biblical Support for Natural Learning and Motivation & Excellence.  In the second part of the book Julie talks about teaching children at different stages: children under 8, children 8-12, and teens.  She also talks about how to get started homeschooling, record keeping, spreading the banquet, and questions and answers.  Throughout the book she discusses her personal experiences homeschooling her 4 children and quotes more then 25 experts in the areas of psychology, child development, and education.  She also includes Biblical references.  At the end of each chapter you will find Study Questions with space for you to write the answers in the book.

God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn is a book about an educational method that is called UnSchooling, interest driven, or child-led.  I have been homeschooling for 14 years and have children ages 7-21.  I am not an Unschooler and I do not believe that it is the only way to homeschool Biblically. There were several things in this book that I agreed with. We need to put Biblical training and knowledge of Jesus at the center of our lives.  Not all children are ready to learn things all at the same time and each child's individual needs need to be taken into account.  Hands on learning and experiences are a great way for children to learn.  She gives many examples of how to teach different subjects using hands on real life experiences at the different ages.  There were several great ideas for teaching children the value of serving others and having an entrepreneur mindset. She has several encouraging Scriptures throughout her book that I love including: "But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well." Proverbs 3:5

In the beginning of the book Julie says," Curriculum can be a great tool as long as it does not become a religion."  I completely agree with that statement.  Curriculum should be a tool, not something that dictates your homeschool.  But the rest of the book does not talk about using any kind of curriculum at all. Later she states, " Throw away curriculum catalogs, homeschool magazines, and related publications.  For me, these items tend to keep me enslaved to a school mentality." We follow many, many, delight driven activities in our house and do many, many things through real life experience, but we use curriculum as well.  Curriculum can be a great guide to help on your homeschooling journey. For us it is a balance.  In the chapter on children ages 8-12 Ms. Polanco states, " Just as walking and talking are skills that we did not teach, reading, writing, and calculating are skills that we would do well not to teach, at least not until the child shows readiness by asking for it, vehemently." My children have a say in what they would like to learn but some things, such as math, they are required to do.  My boys would never ask to do math, but they need to learn it. 

In the chapter on children under 8 she states. " Trying to teach anything to children this age and expecting them to retain it is a waste of time.  I don't mean that it is a waste of time to do anything with them; I mean trying to get them to book learn is a waste of time."  This may be true for many children, but not all children.  I don't think that teaching children is ever a waste of time and some children learn best by reading from books even at a very young age.  We need to recognize that each child is different and teach them in ways that are best for them. 

If you are interested in learning more about how to unschool, or are already an unschooler who is looking for more suggestions or ideas for your children at different ages, God Schooling would be a great read for you.  It also would be good for those who are just starting homeschooling and are interested in learning about different homeschooling methods.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Homeschool Crew Review: Branch Out World

Branch Out World

 We were excited to have an opportunity to review the Paddington Bear literature study from Branch Out World. 
 
Picture Book Explorers - Paddington


Branch Out World was started by a homeschooling mom with a family who loved books and wanted to share that love with others.  The company is located in the UK.  They carry a variety of products such as lapbooks, Picture Book Explorers, and Chapter Book Explorers.  Paddington Bear  is part of the Picture Book Explorers.  The Picture Book Explorers studies are geared for children ages 5-10 but also can be used and enjoyed by older students as well.  The PDF download we received for review is 69 pages.

Paddington, by Michael Bond, is the story of a bear who arrives from Paddington Station in London from darkest Peru.  The Brown family finds him there while on their way to pick up their daughter.  They discover that he was a stowaway and has no one to help him and take him home to live with them.  Paddington has a few difficulties adjusting to life with the Browns.  The picture book Paddington is based off of the first two chapters of the book A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond that was adapted to appeal to a younger audience.

To use the study, you read aloud the book Paddington to your child each day for 5 days and then work on each day's study.  On Day One you explore the setting, Day Two is called Exploring the Words, Day 3 Exploring the Pictures, Day 4 Exploring Science, and Day 5 Exploring Maths, Crafts, and More.  The study begins with instructions and tips, extra optional resources, and lists of supplies for each days activities. Next you find information and instructions for each days' activities. In the appendix you will find all of your printables such as maps, flags, lapbook pieces, other worksheets, and fact sheets.

I started out using this study with just my girls ages 7 and 9.  Lily (age 9) had already read A Bear called Paddington and other books in the series, but Emmie had not.  I did not even know there was a picture book.  We ordered a hard cover copy of the book.  After we completed the first days activities, my 11 and 12 year old boys also were interested and joined in.

Each day of the study has a variety of activities that you can choose from to complete. You do not need to complete each activity, just the ones that appeal to your family. I was very impressed with the number of activities and that you can choose different ones to suit the ages of the children in your family. 

Day 1: In the first day's activities, the lesson included locating London and Peru on a globe, labeling and coloring maps of Peru and London, coloring flags of London and Peru, creating a Travel brochure of England and Peru, researching facts about England and Peru, learning about migration, and making a timeline of events.

Day 2: Has information about the author and the themes of the book. Children have an opportunity to give a narration of the story, make a list of vocabulary words, write or dictate their own story based on one of their toys, learn about subject/verb agreement, talk about the differences between the first two chapters of the chapter book and the picture book, and write an adaptation of another chapter book.

Day 3: Gives information about the illustrator and picture study.  They also learn about the architecture of the Brown's home and different principles of design.


Day 4: Exploring science had information on Andean bears, sensory activities, edible and non edible foam experiments, an experiment with condensation, and nature study activity ideas.

 My children really enjoyed making their own shaving cream.  That was their favorite part!









Day 5: Activities with parallel lines, numbers, spatial awareness, and art, along with recipes to make your own strawberry tarts, and marmalade and information on snacks from Peru. You will also find other ideas to further your study.





This study is very thorough, tons of fun, and able to use with a wide range of ages. The included activities will suit all different types of learners. The study was well laid out and I was very glad to see the list of supplies at the beginning rather then having to look at each day separately.  I loved the variety of worksheets, lapbbok components, and that the maps were also included. 

I would definitely be interested in completing other Picture Book Explorers studies.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Monday, August 13, 2018

4th Grade Curriculum Choices for the 2018/2019 School Year

This year I will have children in 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 9th and 11th grades.  This series of posts will talk about what curriculum I am using for each of the children, starting with 2nd grade and working my way up.  Some subjects the 2-7th graders will do together such as science, history, Bible, and some subjects such as math are individual.








4th Grade Individual Subjects-These are done every day.


Reading-All About Reading Level 4.  Lily finished all of the stories in Vol 1 of Level 4 so she will start on Vol 2.  She is an outstanding reader and loves to read, I mostly use the stories from AAR just to hear her read aloud and correct pronunciation as needed.


Language Arts-We had an opportunity earlier in the summer to review Hake/Saxon Grammar and Writing 3 and will continue with that where we left off.


Math- Lily still has a few lessons left in Math Lessons for a Living Education 3 so she will finish that up and then move on to Level 4.  These books use a 5 day a week schedule and we only use a 4 day day a week schedule so if you do not double up on some days you it takes longer then one regular school year to finish the book.


Handwriting-New American Cursive 2 from Memoria Press was another review from earlier this summer and she will continue working through that.


4th Grade Combined Subjects- Bible is done every day.  History 2 days a week, science 2 days a week., music appreciation and art one day a week.



Bible: We will be using up the rest of Bible Study Guide For all Ages that we received earlier in the summer for review.  We will be alternating this with the Answers for Kids books that we started at the end of last year from Master Books.

Poetry: IEW

History: In the fall semester we will be finishing up the America's Story series from Master Books.  We completed books 1 and 2 last year and will use book 3 this fall.  In the spring we will start The Mystery of History Book One.

Science: We will pick up where we left off last year in Apologia Exploring Human Anatomy and Physiology.

Music Appreciation: We will pick up where we left off in Music Appreciation I from Memoria Press.

Art: We will be using a variety of things for art this year.


It's going to be a great year!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Our Week in Review (Aug 6th-12th) Vacation to Lake Catherine State Park

Some day I am going to take a vacation at a hotel with room service.  Maybe when the children are all grown.  Not that we didn't have a good time, we did.  It was a wonderful trip but it was also a lot of work!  We need a vacation to recover from our vacation!  When I set up the reservation months ago I did not realize that we would be gone right before school started, I thought we would have another week.  But they started back a little early this year.  Not that I have to follow the public school schedule, but Nick has to start back on Monday regardless of whether we start at home or not.  We will be starting back with a few subjects this week and work our way up to a full schedule over the next few weeks.

Lake Catherine State Park in Hot Springs is one of our favorite places to go. We had everything loaded up and ready to go to by lunch on Monday.  I drove the truck with Nick, Emmie, and Lily and towed the boat and Art drove the van with Alex, Christian, Anthony, and the dog and towed the camper.  The campsite we had was right on the water, had lots of shade and a dock.  It was HOT when we got up there so after getting set up and unloaded we went to the swim beach for the children to swim and play.  We also did some fishing that evening.








Tuesday we did some bike riding, more fishing, more swimming, and went to the nature cabin.  The children fed the fish and the turtle and held their 12 year old speckled king snake, Elvis.  We also attended a program on beavers.






Christian caught the smallest fsh


Wednesday morning after a bike ride, we decided to hike the Falls Branch Trail.  It is a 2 mile hike that has a waterfall.  Nick was feeling under the weather and stayed at the camper.  It was a beautiful hike, a bit strenuous, with several ups and downs and places you just had to be careful of where you put your feet.  It had 6 little wooden bridges to cross and a swinging bridge.  When we got about 1 1/2 miles in we came to the place where the waterfall was supposed to be and all that was there was a rock.  No waterfall. That was disappointing, but still beautiful.



No waterfall



After lunch we headed back to the Nature Cabin for a program on butterflies.  The park interpreter said that there had been no rain there in over 2 months which is why there was no waterfall.  I was surprised since we have had more rain this summer then we have had in a long time.  While we were in the cabin, we heard thunder from a distance.  Storms are always worse in Hot Springs and the thunder echoes so it is really loud.  It was still pretty far away so we let the children swim for a bit before heading back.




It started storming pretty badly.  Lightning struck .2 of a mile from where we were and it shook the camper!  The dog was terrified so the girls let her on the couch and covered her up.  We watched movies, played cards, and ate indoors.

By Thursday morning the storm had passed but it still was down pouring rain.  I reminded myself that I really need to pack some rain gear for everyone to leave in the camper.  Chelsea arrived that morning with Liam to spend the day and night with us, but it was still raining very hard.  So we went to Mid America Science Museum.  We had not been there in over a year and there were new exhibits to see and play with.  The outdoor skywalk was closed because of the rain and we also could not go see the new Dino Trek because it is outside.  We stayed and played for a couple of hours and by the time we got back to the camper it had stopped raining.
















We ate lunch and decided to go see if there was a waterfall.  We took the short hike in that was only a 1/2 mile and were so excited to see the water flowing!  It was beautiful!  A very nice lady offered to take our picture and I was so thankful because I am hardly ever in any pictures as I am always taking them.




After spending time there we headed back to the beach for awhile.



And visited the playground.

Since Chelsea and Liam were staying the night Christian and Anthony gave up their bed for them and slept outside in the tent.

We stayed on Friday until lunchtime and then had to pack everything up to head back home.

I still have so much laundry to do even though I have been washing things since Friday night!

Now we have to work on getting back into a regular school year routine.  It has been such a busy summer and it ended way too quickly!

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!